Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. Anthony Robbins

What is really happening when an all-star athlete is not playing to his potential? Derek Jeter, captain and infielder for the New York Yankees, is facing that exact situation. 2010 was his worst season ever, falling from Hall of Fame performance to below average hitting.

Jeter has been an exceptional baseball player since 1996 when he was named American League Rookie of the Year. His stats are a testament to his performance potential. He possesses the physical ability for excellence.

Is age a factor? Maybe, but not necessarily. Many athletes improve performance with age due to a combination of science and experience. Desire paired with a strong determination has the capacity to overcome typical physical limitations regarding age.

April was off to a slow start, but he possesses the ability to turn it around.

Focus and outcome are directly correlated. Trying to get away from last season’s performance continues to exacerbate the problem. Avoidance is not the best approach. It keeps you in a struggle.

Much is to be gained from a bad season with poor performance when approached the right way. Last year’s performance contains a wealth of valuable information. Reflecting on the struggles of last year for greater depth of self-understanding could contribute to breakthrough performance.

Dwelling on the past is not the solution. Jeter is looking to put 2010 behind him. Not fully understanding what went wrong; however, sets him up for a repeat of last year. A fresh start, combined with the insights undermining his performance in 2010, will set the stage for a turnaround.

The blueprint for Jeter to turn it around and get back in the game.

1. Focus. The ability to focus on specific goals is important. The trick is developing goals that are results driven.
2. Clearing his mind to stay present. When standing on the plate, ready to bat, focus on the ball and exactly where you want the ball to go.
3. Trying too hard. This approach works against you. It creates additional tension. Relax. If you stop trying to force your body to swing a specific way you are more likely to achieve the results you want.
4. Using recovery periods most effectively. There is a science to getting the most out of your recovery periods. Dwelling on the past, even if it was 10 seconds ago, is not in your best interest. Acknowledge it and then let it go for now.
5. Visualizing. Before getting on the field visualize perfect swings at bat. See yourself going through the motions in vivid detail. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools available to improve performance without additional time spent training.

Most commentary believes last year is an indicator of things to come. Looking solely at the stats misses the big picture. Actions only tell a fraction of the story.

Focusing on the negative, what Jeter is attempting to avoid, will work against him. It is inevitable. To break free of his current hitting average his focus has to shift, making a 360, to where he wants to be. He knows what he is capable of doing.

Avoidance builds pressure and tension. The physical response to perceived pressure is to tighten up. His mind responds as if he is going to battle instead of going to bat. The key is to shift his focus to avoid a fight, flight or freeze response.

Jeter already knows how to be great. He has proven his excellence. It’s is not as if he had the technical capabilities one day and they were gone the next. It just doesn’t work that way.

Athletes live in their bodies. When an athlete gets into a slump the instinctual line of defense is to focus more on technical training to work through the problem. Athletes will muscle their way out of it. What if that was not the most effective approach? The solution is easier than that.

When performance begins to slide doubt begins to arise. Thoughts, worries and pressures begin to build so the first response is performance changes, hoping that breaks the pattern.

If technical changes don’t work, the next approach is to white knuckle and tough it out. When this is not the solution then what happens? Athletes will try a lot of tricks before admitting it is all in their head.

Trying to get away from a performance problem digs in the frustration even further. The goal is to return to prior performance levels. Avoidance burns a lot of valuable energy. The ideal approach is to move toward solutions. Same outcome, but different approach.

Mistakes happen. Performance will plateau or backslide.

Instead of dwelling on it approach this as an opportunity to understand the underlying reasons performance was off. Focus drives performance which impact outcomes. Learning new techniques and improving physical performance is important. Set the goal to play smart. Learning to effectively focus and stay in the present is teachable. Relaxing while performing is an effective skill to maximize your energy. Recovery periods are valuable when used correctly and visualizing is used by elite athletes to speed up the process of goal attainment.

Activity: Do you realize you are not performing to your best potential? What would be different if you were at the top of your game? Would you have stronger confidence? How would you train differently? Where would you be more committed? Do you feel you would be more focused when competing? Pick one or two things from that list which you could begin doing now. Begin to add those into your current training program. Then track your progress to notice if you begin having breakthroughs.

Author's Bio:
Follow Loren Fogelman during the sports mindset moment giving you tips for winning results through improved focus and confidence.

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